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The Challenge of Generating Revenue
on Social Platforms

Hubbard Jordan LogoSocial media is disruptive. Not as a technology, but as a platform. It has taken market share from traditional advertising mediums such as newspapers, magazines, radio, network broadcasting and cable. It has stolen ears, and eyeballs, and mindshare. According to a February 2012 survey conducted by the Pew Internet Research Center, social platforms engage 48% of the U.S. adult population on a daily basis and 92% of these users “keep in touch” on Facebook. Advertising on social networks is still in its infancy, but it is disruptive. The real challenge for the marketer, is how to best utilize the myriad¬† of emerging social platforms to deliver business messages to consumers and prospects. How does a company generate ROI with social media and how can it be measured?

By their nature, social applications are collaborative platforms used to share knowledge, “Systems of Engagement”, conversational rather than transactional. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are custom applications, or in some cases entire platforms that are layered onto social engagements to provide measurability. However, just because a communication takes place, a customer identified, or an interaction is documented – does this constitute a valid return? Likes, dislikes, testimonials are all well and good – but this is a far cry from an actual sale. The real challenge of conversion is actually generating revenue on social platforms – monetizing the engagement. Yes, there is value to generating leads but do leads come from social platforms or do they actually come from companies engaging with consumers. Engagement cannot be faceless. Social media is a two-way street. It takes a lot of hard work to identify the customer and carry-on a meaningful discussion – to nurture the relationship much as you would in any social relationship. Here are a few considerations to help you to determine how you will use social media.

Do you want to improve brand awareness?
Will you use social media to provide customer service?
WIll your focus be on technical support?
Will social media be used to facilitate project collaboration between you and your partners?
Will you use social media to introduce new products to early adopters or request feedback to increase product life cycle?
Do you hope to generate new sales leads through social engagement?

You will need to choose the correct social platform to best meet your objectives. Each approach will have its own methodology, each will deliver varying results, with different sets of risks and rewards. Here are six steps for developing a effective social media strategy:

1. Define a clear set of Goals

2. Determine what social networks will best reach your target audience

3. Develop your company social media policies, rules of engagement, protecting proprietary information, securing customer personal information, etc.

4. Designate company social knowledge managers

5. Deploy adequate training those engaging with customers

6. Describe appropriate measures to capture results

Understand that social media is only a single channel in your marketing strategy. Be careful not to create a silo of customer information that cannot be shared with the rest of the organization. Social media should provide an extension to your CRM implementation not be the foundation of it. Don’t expect to get information from the customer without providing a value back to the customer in return – the relationship must be mutual. Above all, don’t forget in social media, the customer has the voice and the power to influence current and future customers. Consistently meet the customer’s needs and they will return.

useful reference links:
CRM Magazine Best Practices
Pew Research Institute

 

Posted in MROI, Social Networks, Web Technology.

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